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COURTHOUSE 

SQUARE 

REVISITED 



*«g» .-.Ms.*. 



COURTHOUSE 

SQUARE 

REVISITED 



Landscape and Architecture Guidelines for 

Redesigning the Open Spaces and Entry Areas of the 

Edward A. Garmatz Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 

Baltimore, MD 




Report of the Design Charrette Team 
December 1995 

Prepared for the 
General Services Administration 

By the 

Design Program of the 

National Endowment for the Arts 

Thomas Walton, Ph.D. 

Rapporteur 

School of Architecture and Planning 

The Catholic University of America 

Washington, DC 



Background Notes and the Design Challenge 



The Edward A. Garmatz Federal Building 
and U.S. Courthouse is a typical example of 
Modern architecture. Completed in 1976 as 
part of Baltimore's urban renewal, its glass and 
precast concrete facade as well as its siting - 
an L-shaped footprint along the south and 
west edges of an otherwise open block - are 
common elements of the Modern aesthetic, 
a design philosophy that abandoned historical 
precedent to explore architecture as it might 
express the functional disposition of space, 
technology, construction and the undecorated 
use of building materials. Originally designed 
to house several U.S. courts and a mix of other 
federal offices, the Garmatz Federal Court- 
house is currently undergoing extensive reno- 
vation as it is now entirely dedicated to court 
use, including the U.S. District Court, the 
U.S. Circuit Court, the U.S. Bankruptcy 
Court, the U.S. Magistrate Court and a large 
ceremonial courtroom. 

Clearly in terms of function, the Garmatz 
Federal Courthouse should be regarded as an 
important civic structure. Its site also reinforces 
this interpretation. The courthouse is located 
only a few blocks from the Inner Harbor in the 
heart of downtown Baltimore and is bounded 
by Pratt Street to the south, Lombard Street 



to the north, Hopkins Place to the west and 
South Hanover Street to the east. The L-shaped 
building is surrounded by a large public plaza 
(about 200 by 240 feet) on the east and north. 
The plaza contains several pedestrian walkways, 
a major area of grass and landscaping, a U-shaped 
driveway and the entry to an underground 
garage. A monumental (albeit, controversial) 
contemporary sculpture by George Sugarman - 
Baltimore Federal- sits near the building's 
entrance as a further sign of the structure's civic 
character. Finally, it is worth noting that a small 
but handsome bronze statue of Thurgood 
Marshall graces the southwest (Pratt Street) 
side of the Garmatz courthouse block. 

Presently, as a complement to ongoing 
interior renovations, the General Services 
Administration (GSA), landlord for the federal 
government, and the U.S. courts have decided 
to repair the brick plaza which is swelling in 
several areas and has many cracked mortar 
joints. In this case, however, the repair project 
becomes an opportunity to address other func- 
tional and aesthetic concerns that have arisen 
over the years. Perhaps the most significant 
issue is discovering ways to redesign the open 
space and entry areas so they speak effectively 
to the civic profile of a courthouse and enhance 





HOW CAN THE DESIGN INTENT AND APPRECIATION OF 



George Sugarman's sculpture be improved? 



Background Notes and the Design Challenge 



the appeal and use of the building for employ- 
ees and the citizens of Baltimore. This is a diffi- 
cult challenge since Garmatz's interpretation 
of the Modern aesthetic creates a stark, anony- 
mous impression that few associate with public 
architecture and a good number of people find 
unattractive. Another major problem is the 
need to improve access and parking for persons 
with disabilities. A third concern is the appro- 
priateness of the Sugarman sculpture. 

Site conditions complicate easy resolution of 
these issues. The land slopes about 20 feet from 
the high point (intersection of Lombard and 
Hopkins Place or northwest corner) to the low 
point (Hanover Street or east side) of the block. 



The plaza must incorporate a garage entrance. 
The front door to the building is deep within 
the plaza, with access limited to the north and 
east sides of the site. This leaves Hopkins Place 
(on the west) and Pratt Street (on the south) 
as rather uninviting perimeter spaces, a situa- 
tion that may only be exacerbated by security 
priorities that focus on controlled access and 
easy surveillance. To frame the investigation 
of these and related matters, the staffs of GSA 
and the U.S. Federal Court in Baltimore pre- 
pared a list of questions for consideration in 
redesigning - under the headings of function 
and aesthetics - the plaza and entrance to the 
Garmatz courthouse: 



Function 

I How can access and parking for persons with 
disabilities be improved? 

I How, in general, can pedestrian and vehicular 
circulation be improved? 

I How can the plaza be made more inviting 
to employees and the citizens of Baltimore 
with well designed street furniture and better 
landscaping? 

I How can security around the building be 
enhanced as part of a larger design solution? 

I How can the base of the building and exterior 
colonnade be redesigned to improve the siting 
and function of the courthouse? 

I How can the entrance be better defined? 

I How can the lobby and other entry-level 
spaces can be reconfigured to effectively meet 
security and other functional needs? 



AESTHETICS 

I How can the building and its plaza make 
a more positive and attractive urban design 
statement? 

I How can the plaza present a more dignified 
yet accessible image of a U.S. courthouse? 

I How can the landscape design of the plaza 
create a better sense of a traditional public 
square as well as a barrier to traffic noise and 
pollution? 

I How can the site lines and vistas be improved 
from both within and outside the building? 

I How can the parking garage be incorporated 
as a design element within the plaza rather than 
an intrusion on the open space? 

I How can the design intent and appreciation 
of George Sugarman's sculpture be improved? 

I Should the sculpture of Thurgood Marshall, 
now located on Pratt Street, be moved to a 
more fitting and visible location? 

I How can the lobby provide the appropriate 
sense of arrival and stature befitting a U.S. 
courthouse? 



The Charrette Response and Project Focus 



These questions suggest a scope of work regard- 
ing design. However, they do not articulate the 
priorities and general strategies that can be an 
invaluable first step in selecting the best design- 
ers and assuring the optimum solution. At this 
juncture, the GSA and the U.S. courts decided 
to develop a more detailed set of design guide- 
lines prior to turning the project over to a spe- 
cific architecture, landscape and engineering 
team. To this end, the GSA recommended con- 
vening a two-day "charrette." The term comes 
from a French phrase describing the hectic rush 
of students at the Ecole des Beaux- Arts to com- 
plete their architectural drawings and put their 
boards on the cart, en charrette, as they were be- 
ing collected for entry to various competitions. 
Today, the word refers to a thorough study of 
a design problem within a limited time frame. 
As they had done successfully in the past, GSA 
sought the help of Thomas Grooms, Program 
Manager of the National Endowment for the 
Arts Design Program's Federal Design Improve- 
ment Program, to organize the charrette and 
invite a team of nationally recognized designers 
to participate in the process. As a collaborative 
effort, the agencies knew the charrette would 
accomplish two key objectives. First, it would 
focus attention on and generate enthusiasm for 
the project, opening up a valuable dialogue be- 
tween the GSA and the U.S. courts as well as 
with the city of Baltimore and its citizens. Sec- 
ond, it would provide a design vision for the 
plaza - not a final proposal nor a design man- 
date, but a rich set of principles and guidelines 
that the GSA and the U.S. courts could accept, 
modify or reject as they developed the project 
further. 



June 26-27, 1995, were chosen as the dates 
for the event. The multi-disciplinary charrette 
design team, put together by the Arts Endow- 
ment, was headed by Susan Child, president 
and senior principal of Child Associates, a 
Boston, Massachusetts, landscape architecture 
firm with extensive urban design experience. 
Ms. Child's associates were Carlos Jimenez, an 
award-winning architect from Houston, Texas, 
and principal of Carlos Jimenez Architecture 
Studio; Grover E. Mouton, III, a renowned 
architect and urban design artist from New 
Orleans, Louisiana, and director of the Center 
for Regional Design at Tulane University; and 
William H. Paxson, an associate partner with 
Davis, Brody & Associates in New York City, 
where he has served as senior designer for 
several large-scale urban architecture projects. 

When these experts gathered at the Garmatz 
Federal Courthouse in late June, they had a 
full agenda. They were joined by representa- 
tives from the GSA's Central and Mid-Atlantic 
Regional Offices and the U.S. courts (see 
page 28 for the complete list of Participants 
in the Charrette). On behalf of the courts, the 
Honorable Benson Everett Legg, Judge, U.S. 
District Court, District of Maryland, served 
as host for the event. There was a review of 
the history of the building and project goals. 
A tour of the facility provided additional facts 
regarding on-going renovations, security, ac- 
cess for persons with disabilities, the two-story 
lobby and balcony, circulation and entry-level 
functions including the cafeteria and ceremo- 
nial courtroom and waiting area. Walking 
around the building, the group noted the 
now-closed lower-level entrance on Pratt Street 



and the complex mix of functions incorporated 
in the existing plaza — garage entrance, drive- 
way, security, parking for the disabled, delivery, 
pedestrian pathways up the sloped site and 
across the plaza, and a green area landscaped 
with grass, trees and shrubs. The tour also was 
a chance to get a close-up look at both the 
George Sugarman sculpture - Baltimore Federal 
- on the plaza and the bronze statue of 
Thurgood Marshall located in a bermed niche 
along Pratt Street. 

Upon returning to the meeting room, the 
charrette team heard "testimony" from a variety 
of different stakeholders in the design process. 
This included commentary from the Baltimore 
Development Corporation, the U.S. Marshals 



Service, the Federal Public Defender's office, 
the Pretrial Services Agency, the librarian for 
the U.S. courts, the U.S. Attorney's office, the 
U.S. Probation office, the Bar Association of 
Baltimore City, the Maryland State Bar Asso- 
ciation, a wheelchair-bound practicing city 
attorney, Maryland Art Place, a public arts con- 
sultant, and several faculty members from art 
schools (see The Charrette Agenda on page 24 
for a list of presenters). The Honorable Paul 
V. Niemeyer, Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, 
4th Circuit; the Honorable E. Stephen Derby, 
Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court; the Honorable 
Daniel E. Klein, Jr., Magistrate Judge, U.S. 
District Court; and Judge Legg also addressed 
the team. 



HOW CAN THE PARKING GARAGE BE INCORPORATED AS 

A DESIGN ELEMENT WITHIN THE PLAZA RATHER THAN 

AN INTRUSION ON THE OPEN SPACE? 



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The Charrette Response and Project Focus 



Expanding on the project focus, presenters 
made these points: 

I Many felt the Garmatz Federal Courthouse 
and plaza lacked an appropriately dignified 
image. Some pointed to older federal court- 
houses as precedents; others pointed to more 
recent examples. All noted the need for a design 
that conveyed the civic/public character of the 
structure. Their hope was that a redesigned 
plaza and entry would express the qualities of 
order and permanence, and help people under- 
stand the building and its open space as a sym- 
bol of democracy and justice. 

I Several individuals mentioned that if the 
Garmatz courthouse is a civic edifice, then its 
new plaza should be an inviting public place. 
The present situation was judged confusing, 



unattractive and overwhelmed by hard surfaces, 
particularly the mammoth brick stairway. On 
the positive side, because people enjoyed the 
views and use of landscaped areas away from 
busy street traffic, presenters suggested there be 
as much green space as possible. The plaza was 
seen as an oasis in a densely developed down- 
town environment. To enhance 
this perception, more benches, well-designed 
lighting and other people-friendly amenities 
were recommended as elements to be included 
in any new plaza design. 

I A number of those addressing the charrette 
team went beyond pointing out design weak- 
nesses of the plaza and public spaces to share 
their feelings that the Garmatz Federal Court- 
house as a whole was an architectural failure. 



The new plaza should be an inviting public place. 

The present situation was judged confusing, 

unattractive and overwhelmed by hard surfaces, 

particularly the mammoth brick stairway. 




The Charrette Response and Project Focus 



Generally, these speakers felt the Modern 
aesthetic was inappropriate to a courthouse. 
Some made remarks about specific architectural 
decisions related to topics ranging from urban 
design to detailing. Many complained about 
the use of second rate materials and furnishings, 
and programming shortcuts that gave the inte- 
rior a cheap or tattered look and caused func- 
tional problems. Although dealing with these 
issues was, for the most part, outside the scope 
of this project, the team listened carefully with 
the hope that, in fulfilling its mandate to de- 
velop guidelines for the open spaces and entry 
areas, it might also respond, in part, to these 
broader concerns. 

I Some regarded the small, almost hidden, en- 
trance as one of the most serious architectural 
flaws. These people believed the renovation 
project was an opportunity to create a more 
prominent and easily recognized "front door" 
that functioned better in terms of circulation 
and as a symbolic entry to a courthouse. 

I For everybody, security was critical issue. 
There was a uniform desire to have a single 
entrance serving all visitors to the Garmatz 
courthouse, including persons with disabilities 
(presently, this last group comes in from a 
nearby but separate doorway). Those respon- 
sible for security also were concerned that the 
Sugarman sculpture - due to its intricate spatial 
form and proximity to the building - posed a 
security risk. Others mentioned a desire to 
make sure the new design did not create hiding 
places around the site, including among trees, 
as current circumstances made them feel un- 
easy, particularly during low-use hours. 



I Lawyers and judges alike commented on 
aesthetic and programmatic needs that might 
be incorporated in the renovated lobby and 
lower level areas. Specifically, they wanted an 
interior designed with a palette of materials that 
reflected the seriousness of trials and the impor- 
tance of the American judicial process as a 
cornerstone of our democratic society. These 
same materials could also acknowledge the 
value of the time citizens give up to participate 
directly in the operation of government 
through the court system. Functionally, these 
constituents asked for a lawyers' lounge and 
witness conference rooms. More public phones 
would also be useful as well as improved public 
waiting areas. 

I It was clear within the legal community, 
as well as among other users of the Garmatz 
building, that the Sugarman sculpture was not 
appreciated as a piece of public art appropriate 
to a courthouse. By contrast, those representing 
the arts believed Baltimore Federal was a fine 
example of Sugarman's talents and noted that 
it had been designed especially for this site. If 
it had to be moved, they asked that it stay on 
the plaza and that the decision about a new 
placement involve Sugarman himself. 

I Interestingly, everyone agreed that the sculp- 
ture of Thurgood Marshall was outstanding. 
Several individuals remarked, however, that it 
was too small a piece for the plaza and, if it were 
to be relocated, that it be given a more intimate 
setting befitting its relatively small scale. A final 
comment about the Marshall sculpture was a 
statement that it belonged to the city of Balti- 
more, which mandated that GSA receive official 
permission before moving it. 



The Charrette Response and Project Focus 



After the tour and this extensive dialogue, 
a well-informed charrette team got down to 
business. Working into the evening and most 
of the following day, they discussed a myriad 
of different design issues and strategies. When 
the group made its presentation in the late 
afternoon of the second day, it articulated two 
fundamental principles it believed should shape 
all aspects of the project: 

Creating a sense of dignity should be a 
central theme in design decisions related 
to the garmatz federal courthouse. 

Dignity, an essential characteristic of court- 
houses, was mentioned again and again as the 
aspect most lacking in the present structure and 
outdoor spaces. Responding to this criticism, 
the charrette team concluded, as per the scope 
of this project, that a critical goal should be to 
endow the plaza, entry and lobby areas with a 
seriousness of purpose and the qualities of order 
and permanence while respecting those aspects 
of the architecture that could not be changed as 
part of this effort. 



INTEGRATING ALL FEATURES OF THE PROJECT - 
LANDSCAPE, ARCHITECTURE, INTERIOR DESIGN, 
SCULPTURE, BUILDING DETAILS AND OTHER ELE- 
MENTS - INTO A UNIFIED DESIGN CONCEPT AND 
FABRIC SHOULD BE A PARAMOUNT OBJECTIVE. 
The point here is simply that the many compo- 
nents of the new design should contribute to 
a single vision and should complement one 
another. Specifically, modifications to the site 
and landscaping on the plaza should work with 
the new entry sequence and with the details 
and layout of a redesigned front door and lobby 
as well as with the existing architecture. 

Within the framework of these two goals, the 
team developed guidelines in three specific 
areas: 

I Urban Design and Landscape Guidelines 

I Entry and Lobby/Ground Floor Guidelines 

I Guidelines Related to Design Details and 
the Siting of Sculpture 



Shown on Facing page: 
The U. S. Federal Courthouse on Wright Square in Savannah. Georgia, 

IS AN EXAMPLE OF A COURTHOUSE WITH A TRADITIONAL SETTING. 

THE COURTHOUSE OVERLOOKS A LARGE PUBLIC SQUARE, CREATING AN INVITING 

CIVIC SPACE AND DIGNIFIED SETTING FOR THE BUILDING. 

(PHOTOGRAPHS: ROBERT A.M. STERN ARCHITECTS) 



10 



Creating a sense of dignity should be 

A central theme in design decisions related to 

the Garmatz Federal Courthouse. 




Integrating all features of the project 



A PARAMOUNT OBJECTIVE. 



Urban Design and Landscape Guidelines 



These principles are meant to guide the major 
aesthetic and functional issues related to the 
plaza/open space in front of the Garmatz Fed- 
eral Courthouse. They focus on big ideas, orga- 
nizing concepts that purposely leave questions 
unanswered so, in the next phase of the process, 
the GSA, the U.S. courts and the design team 
can explore a range of alternatives and details 
that fulfill these objectives. 

TO SUPPORT THE CURRENT IDENTITY OF THE 

Garmatz building as a U.S. courthouse, 

THE BUILDING AND ITS PLAZA/OPEN SPACE 
SHOULD BE DEFINED AND TREATED AS A 
"PRECINCT" - A SPECIAL AND RESPECTED 
PLACE IN THE CITY WITH A CLEAR EDGE AND 
A DISTINCTIVE CHARACTER THAT CONVEYS 
NOTIONS OF DIGNITY AND PERMANENCE. 

A critical step in this project is to recognize 
that the Garmatz courthouse and the redesign 
of its plaza is a genuine opportunity to enhance 
both the city and the image of the courts. The 
L-shaped building defines the south and west 
edges of its site and the public square contained 
within these strong but stark architectural 
"arms." The challenge is to develop the plaza 
to complement and improve the image of the 
architecture as a courthouse so that the open 
space and the building form an integrated 
design that reads as a single dignified "pre- 
cinct." Presently the plaza is cluttered with 
multiple and often conflicting uses. Pathways, 
roads and changes in level cut the area into 
several separate elements, and the landscaping 
is treated as an isolated garden with little or no 
relationship to the building. What is needed is 
an approach that: 

I Creates an elegant dialogue between the 
Garmatz courthouse and the open space; 



I Defines the east and north edges of the site; 
and 

I Unifies the architecture and the landscape 
into an orderly and permanent courthouse 
"precinct" that conveys a seriousness of purpose 
and facilitates pedestrian, vehicular and other 
functions without allowing these activities to 
distract from the whole. 

The plaza should be developed as 
a single, green horizontal plane, 
a pedestrian space emblematic of a 
courthouse square or town common. 
Responding to the "precinct" requirements, 
the charrette team came to the conclusion that 
the open space in front of the Garmatz Federal 
Courthouse should be redesigned as a concep- 
tual variation of a traditional courthouse square 
or town common. Historically, these places are 
the setting for important civic structures. They 
invite public use but also convey the ideas of 
order and respect for the rule of law and create 
a link between the landscape and the archi- 
tecture. In this tradition, the plaza should be 
treated as a horizontal plane landscaped with a 
unified system of pathways, grass, trees and 
other plantings in a way that complements the 
architecture, helps identify the entrance to the 
building and establishes the edges of the site. 
The new courthouse square also should provide 
benches, lighting and other amenities so that 
people can take advantage of the space for quiet 
thought, conversation, lunch or other similar 
uses. Obviously, this strategy requires signifi- 
cant modifications to the slope of the land 
and the rearrangement of existing functions. 
These concerns are addressed in the guidelines 
that follow. 



1 2 



The Garmatz Federal Courthouse should be redesigned 

as a conceptual variation of a traditional courthouse square or town common. 

Historically, these places are the setting for important civic structures. They invite 

public use but also convey the ideas of order and respect for the rule of law 

and create a link between the landscape and the architecture. 




■ • • > 

III! • *illitl« 

1 1 1 1 J 

■ ■111 




13 



Urban Design and Landscape Guidelines 



AS A PLANE, THE PLAZA SHOULD BE RAISED 
TO THE ENTRY LEVEL OF THE BUILDING - OR 
SLOPE SLIGHTLY DOWN FROM THAT POINT, IF 
NECESSARY, TO REDUCE THE CANYON EFFECT 
TO THE EAST ON HANOVER STREET. MOST 
OF THE PARKING GARAGE RAMP SHOULD BE 
COVERED, ASSIMILATING AND UNIFYING WHAT 
HAD BEEN A LOOP ROAD FOR VEHICLES, A 
GARAGE ENTRANCE, A STEPPED/SLOPED PATH 
FOR PEDESTRIANS AND A GARDEN INTO A 
SINGLE GREAT COURTHOUSE SQUARE. 
The "precinct" concept mandates that vehicular 
intrusions into the site be minimized (a design 
objective that also responds to current security 
concerns). This can be accomplished most 
effectively by abandoning the loop road, shift- 
ing delivery and parking for persons with dis- 
abilities from the current driveway to less 
central locations and lifting the plane of the 
open space as close to the level of the building 
entrance as possible. This could raise the plaza 
level by as much as 18 feet and would create a 
unified pedestrian space covering most of the 
site, including almost all of the garage entrance 
ramp. This raised area, in turn, could be land- 
scaped as the courthouse square. If such a trans- 
formation overwhelmed Hanover Street on the 
east with a canyon-like wall, the raised open 
space might be sloped or terraced downward 



instead as a soft green embankment that still 
gives a strong "architectural" edge to the plaza. 
As a last note, it is worth mentioning that a 
potential extra benefit of the raised plaza trans- 
formation might be the ability to add parking 
spaces or other support functions under the 
new public space. 

The boundaries of the new plaza - 
the sidewalks and plaza areas along 
Lombard and Hanover Street - 
should both define the "precinct" 
as a distinctive and dignified urban 
open space and be developed as an 
inviting pedestrian environment. 
These linear edge areas might be architecturally 
articulated with trees, a trellis and/or some 
other landscape device. Benches and lights 
might be incorporated as part of the design, 
and planted terraces might be integrated within 
the scheme along Hanover Street to soften the 
wall supporting the raised plaza on that side of 
the site. Whatever is done should create a clear 
edge, define a large central space, complement 
the entry sequence to the building and the 
interior landscaping of the new square, and 
offer an attractive public space for those who 
use the building as well as those who are just 
passing by 



Create a courthouse square by raising the plaza and minimizing vehicular intrusions. 



Pull-in area for 
persons with disabiliites 

New Entry 




New 

Courthouse 

Square 



Emergency Access Garage Access 



14 






I 




Create a clear edge to define a large central space. 



In its concept and detail, the plaza 
should be developed as a graceful 
forecourt to the building, a transition - 
or filter - that brings people through a 
transforming experience from the chaos 
and noise of the street to the front door 
of a major federal institution - a build- 
ing that should have a strong civic 
presence as it represents a cornerstone 
of democracy in the united states. 
The new square is the key element for enhanc- 
ing the profile and dignity of the Garmatz 
building as a courthouse. As an open space, it 
should be serious and refined, reflecting the 
function of the building and preparing those 
who pass through it for the experience of ob- 
serving or participating in our judicial system. 
It should serve as a processional space conveying 
a sense of decorum and respect as people move 
from the busy streets into the federal courts. 

The main pedestrian access to the plaza 
should be from the north (lombard 
Street), paralleling the west wing of 
the building to a new front entrance/ 
security area. 

This puts the major pathway into the open 
space and to the building at the same level as 
the raised plaza and provides an opportunity to 
design a clear, dignified and possibly covered 
entry to the courthouse's new front door. This 
should not, however, preclude developing 



secondary paths from other locations on the 
perimeter of the square if that seems appropri- 
ate as the design evolves. 

Emergency access and delivery should 
be from the east (hanover street) on 
a secure, limited-access road parallel 
to and immediately adjoining the south 
wing of the building. 
This road, perhaps two lanes wide, substitutes 
for the vehicular loop that is removed when the 
plaza level is raised. Unlike the loop, it will be a 
discrete vehicular passageway approaching the 
entrance level tucked between the basement 
wall of the south wing and a new wall support- 
ing the courthouse square. It will be available 
only for fire and other emergencies and, with 
security clearance, to cars and trucks having to 
make deliveries. 

Parking for persons with disabilities 
should be located in a pull-in area 
on the north edge of the site along 
Lombard Street. 

This more than makes up for the space that is 
lost when the loop road is removed. The new- 
parking area should be located as close as pos- 
sible to the main entrance to the courthouse 
square and offer easy, at-grade access to the 
front door along the same gracious pathway 
taken by other pedestrians. 



1 5 



Entry and Lobby/Ground Floor Guidelines 



The existing entry and lobby space at the Gar- 
matz Federal Courthouse is confusing and clut- 
tered. The entrance itself is not easily perceived 
from the street. Pathways to the front door 
dance around a variety of corners and turns as 
well as the Sugarman sculpture. There is a totally 
separate and much more circuitous entrance for 
persons with disabilities. Once inside, security 
equipment dominates the individual's experi- 
ence of the lobby. There is no sense of arrival. 
Orientation is poor. Visitors have to hunt out 
the elevator. Waiting areas are simply residual 
spaces that are uncomfortable and poorly fur- 
nished. The nearby cafeteria is cramped and 
uninviting. Since the Pratt Street entrance is 
generally closed, the stair and lower level space 
are unused and visually ominous. At the same 
time, now that the Garmatz building is devoted 
entirely to court use, there is a demand that 
space be found for some added functions. In 
particular, there is a pressing need for a lawyers' 
lounge and witness conference rooms, activities 
that presently just happen in the hallways. 

In light of these conditions, the charrette 
team recommended that the entrance and 
lobby areas also be redesigned. Their specific 
suggestions are outlined in the guidelines to 
follow. 

There should be a single, secure, 
dignified public entrance serving 
all users, including persons with 
disabilities. 

This is essential not only from the point of 
view of security but also in terms of enhancing 
the dignity and presence of the Garmatz build- 
ing as a courthouse. With one "front door," 
designers can concentrate on developing a 
gracious entry experience linking that space to 
the new square and the main pedestrian path- 
way to Lombard Street. 



THE ENTRANCE TO THE GARMATZ FEDERAL 
COURTHOUSE SHOULD BE SHIFTED TO THE 
SPACE PRESENTLY DEVOTED TO THE ENTRY 
FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (ALONG 
THE WEST WING OF THE BUILDING) WITH AN 
ADDITION CONSTRUCTED TO ACCOMMODATE 
THIS FUNCTION - INCLUDING SECURITY - 
ANNOUNCING THIS AREA AS THE DIGNIFIED 
FRONT DOOR TO THE COURTHOUSE. 
This is the optimum location for the entrance 
for several reasons. There is ample space at this 
point to serve all users including persons with 
disabilities. It is reasonably close to and at grade 
with the proposed Lombard Street parking for 
persons with disabilities. There also is room for 
security so that equipment and activity would 
no longer clutter the lobby. With respect to 
image, this shift provides the opportunity to 
design a new front door that is visually more 
prominent and symbolically more fitting to the 
courthouse profile of the building and the pro- 
posed courthouse square. Architecturally, this 
"portal" should complement the existing archi- 
tecture but be easily seen and recognized as the 
entrance from the street and from the renovated 
plaza. It also should help articulate the walk 
from Lombard Street as the logical and dignified 
main pedestrian pathway to the courthouse. 

AS A STRATEGY FOR CREATING A MORE 
GRACIOUS AND SPACIOUS LOBBY, THE 
DESIGNERS SELECTED FOR THIS PROJECT 
SHOULD CONSIDER TAKING OUT THE FREE- 
STANDING STAIRCASE TO THE SECOND- 
FLOOR BALCONY AND EXPLORE REMOVING 
THE LOBBY STAIRS DOWN TO PRATT STREET AND 
EXTENDING A FLOOR OVER THAT AREA. 

Together, these changes would permit the 
design of a spacious, orderly lobby with a seri- 
ousness of purpose befitting the courthouse use 
of the structure. These changes would simplify 
circulation and add enough space to accommo- 
date the many people entering the building. 



1 6 




AS A STRATEGY FOR CREATING SPACE FOR A LAWYERS' LOUNGE, 

WITNESS CONFERENCE ROOMS AND POSSIBLY A NEW CAFETERIA, 

THE DESIGNERS MAY CONSIDER ENCLOSING WHAT IS NOW AN 

EXTERIOR COLONNADE ON THE SOUTH WING OF THE BUILDING 

OVERLOOKING THE PLAZA. 




A SINGLE, SECURE, DIGNIFIED PUBLIC ENTRANCE 

SERVING ALL USERS, INCLUDING PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES 

SHOULD BE DEVELOPED - ONE WHICH WILL ENSURE SECURITY 

AND ENHANCE THE DIGNITY AND PRESENCE OF THE 

GARMATZ BUILDING AS A COURTHOUSE. 



17 



Entry and Lobby/Ground Floor Guidelines 



Such a renovation would also allow the devel- 
opment of an appropriate and much needed 
waiting area adjacent to the ceremonial court- 
room on the first floor. All of this should be 
possible because both stairways are rarely used 
and have no strong functional relationships 
with the lobby. All floors, including the bal- 
cony, are accessible by elevator. 

as a strategy for creating space for 
a lawyers' lounge, witness conference 
rooms and possibly a new cafeteria, 
the designers should examine two other 
renovation options. the first would be 
to enclose what is now an exterior 
colonnade on the south wing of the 
building overlooking the plaza. the 
second would be to extend a wall and 
glazing around the now-open lower-level 
Pratt Street columns and passageway. 
Both or either one of these alternatives would 
add significant floor space. The project design- 
ers should, of course, investigate all possible 
configurations, but one layout would be to use 
the south wing colonnade as a lawyers' lounge, 
move the cafeteria to the new lower-level space 
adjacent to the landscaped Pratt Street side- 
walk, and transform the existing dining area 
into witness conference rooms. 



The finish materials in the lobby 
should include a limited palette of 
wood and stone selected to enhance 
the dignity, permanence and refined 
quality of this important public space 
and the courthouse in general. 
The renovation of the entrance and lobby area, 
like the redevelopment of the plaza, is a special 
opportunity to give the Garmatz building the 
dignified image needed in a federal courthouse. 
Without being extravagant or lavish, wood and 
stone detailing can make a real contribution to 
improving the respect and serious regard people 
have for the courts and the American system of 
justice in what otherwise might be considered 
just another office building. 



Existing 



Main Entry 




(Closed Entry) 



18 




Proposed 

(New, additional space shown in color) 



19 



Design Details and Sculpture Siting Guidelines 



The charrette team offers these suggestions 
regarding materials and the two prominent 
sculptures on the site. 

The images of dignity and permanence 
appropriate to the courthouse and 
a federal/civic building should come 
from the design of the plaza space, 
entrance, lobby and other details and 
not from cladding the garmatz federal 
Courthouse in marble. 
The charrette team believes its guidelines will 
lead to a dignified profile for the building and 
plaza and that cladding the structure in expen- 
sive stone would be both unnecessary and in 
conflict with the Modern aesthetic of the ori- 
ginal design. 

With permission, the city's statue of 
Justice Thurgood Marshall should be 
given an appropriate home inside the 
renovated courthouse lobby. 

People were uniformly impressed with the 
quality of this sculpture and felt that a contem- 
plative setting in the renovated courthouse 
lobby would complement the piece's intimate 
scale and detail. The exact location of the 
sculpture would have to be determined with 
further study. 



With George Sugarman's counsel, his 
Baltimore Federal sculpture should be 
restored and re-sited within the new 
courthouse square to display its symbolic 
and civic content more effectively. 
Clearly, the present location of the Sugarman 
sculpture leaves it an unappreciated obstruction 
to the courthouse entry and, from an urban 
design perspective, largely unseen and un- 
celebrated. In addition, it interferes with pro- 
posed guidelines for a new entrance to the 
Garmatz courthouse. To find a better location 
for the piece, Sugarman should be invited to 
participate in the renovation plans for the plaza, 
offering his recommendations regarding alter- 
native sites within the new square, and helping 
to make his monumental work an integral fea- 
ture of the courthouse block's dignified profile. 



20 



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IN ITS CONCEPT AND DETAIL, THE PLAZA SHOULD BE 

DEVELOPED AS A GRACEFUL FORECOURT TO THE BUILDING, 

A TRANSITION - OR FILTER - THAT BRINGS PEOPLE THROUGH 

A TRANSFORMING EXPERIENCE FROM THE CHAOS AND NOISE 

OF THE STREET TO THE FRONT DOOR OF 

A MAJOR FEDERAL INSTITUTION. 



(photograph: Wright Square in front of U.S. Courthouse 
in Savannah, Georgia.) 




A Summary of the Guidelines 



Fundamental Principles 

I Creating a sense of dignity 
should be a central theme in 
design decisions related to the 
Garmatz Federal Courthouse. 

I Integrating all features of the 
project - landscape, architec- 
ture, interior design, sculpture, 
building details and other ele- 
ments - into a unified design 
concept and fabric should be a 
paramount objective. 



Urban Design and 
Landscape Guidelines 

I To support the current iden- 
tity of the Garmatz building as 
a U.S. courthouse, the building 
and its plaza/open space should 
be defined and treated as a 
"precinct" - a special and re- 
spected place in the city with 
a clear edge and a distinctive 
character that conveys notions 
of dignity and permanence. 

I The plaza should be developed 
as a single, green horizontal 
plane, a pedestrian space em- 
blematic of a courthouse square 
or town common. 

I As a plane, the plaza should 
be raised to the entry level of 
the building - or slope slightly 
down from that point, if neces- 
sary, to reduce the canyon effect 
to the east on Hanover Street. 
Most of the parking garage 
ramp should be covered, assi- 
milating and unifying what had 



been a loop road for vehicles, 
a garage entrance, a stepped/ 
sloped path for pedestrians and 
a garden into a single great 
courthouse square. 

I The boundaries of the new 
plaza - the sidewalks and plaza 
areas along Lombard and Han- 
over Streets - should both 
define the "precinct" as a dis- 
tinctive and dignified urban 
open space and be developed 
as an inviting pedestrian envi- 
ronment. 

I In its concept and detail, the 
plaza should be developed as a 
graceful forecourt to the build- 
ing, a transition — or filter — 
that brings people through a 
transforming experience from 
the chaos and noise of the street 
to the front door of a major 
federal institution - a building 
that should have a strong civic 
presence as it represents a cor- 
nerstone of democracy in the 
United States. 

I The main pedestrian access to 
the plaza should be from the 
north (Lombard Street), paral- 
leling the west wing of the build- 
ing to a new front entrance/ 
security area. 

I Emergency access and delivery 
should be from the east (Han- 
over Street) on a secure, limited- 
access road parallel to and 
immediately adjoining the 
south wing of the building. 

I Parking for persons with dis- 
abilities should be located in a 
pull-in area on the north edge of 
the site along Lombard Street. 



Entry and Lobby/ 
Ground Floor Guidelines 

I There should be a single, 
secure, dignified public en- 
trance serving all users, includ- 
ing persons with disabilities. 

I The entrance to the Garmatz 
Federal Courthouse should be 
shifted to the space presently 
devoted to the entry for persons 
with disabilities (along the west 
wing of the building) with an 
addition constructed to accom- 
modate this function - includ- 
ing security - announcing this 
area as the dignified front door 
to the courthouse. 

I As a strategy for creating a 
more gracious and spacious 
lobby, the designers selected for 
this project should consider 
taking out the free-standing 
staircase to the second-floor 
balcony and explore removing 
the lobby stairs down to Pratt 
Street and extending a floor 
over that area. 

I As a strategy for creating space 
for a lawyers' lounge, witness 
conference rooms and possibly 
a new cafeteria, the designers 
should examine two other reno- 
vation options. The first would 
be to enclose what is now an 
exterior colonnade on the south 
wing of the building overlook- 
ing the plaza. The second would 
be to extend a wall and glazing 
around the now-open lower- 
level Pratt Street columns and 
passageway. 



I The finish materials in the 
lobby should include a limited 
palette of wood and stone 
selected to enhance the dignity, 
permanence and refined quality 
of this important public space 
and the courthouse in general. 



Guidelines Related to 
Design Details and 
the Siting of Sculpture 

I The images of dignity and 
permanence appropriate to the 
courthouse and a federal/civic 
building should come from the 
design of the plaza space, en- 
trance, lobby and other details 
and not from cladding the 
Garmatz Federal Courthouse 
in marble. 

I With permission, the city's 
statue of Justice Thurgood 
Marshall should be given an 
appropriate home inside the 
renovated Garmatz Federal 
Courthouse lobby. 

I With George Sugarman's 
counsel, his Baltimore Federal 
sculpture should be restored 
and re-sited within the new 
courthouse square to display 
its symbolic and civic content 
more effectively. 



23 



The Charrette Agenda 



Monday, 26 June 1995 

8:45 Welcome 

Thomas Grooms 

Design Program, 

National Endowment for the Arts 

9:00 Presentation on the Building and 
Relevant Issues 

Representatives of the U.S. courts 

9:30 Tour of the Building and Site 

Honorable Benson Everett Legg 
Judge, U.S. District Court, 
District of Maryland 

1 1 :00 Presentations and Comments 

Shubroto Bose 

Baltimore Development Corporation 

James Bredar, Esq. 

Federal Public Defender 

Chris Fiora 

Deputy, U.S. Marshals Service 

Patricia Hargis 

Librarian, U.S. courts 

Barbara Skidmore 

Pretrial Services Agency 

12:00 Lunch 



1 :00 Presentations and Comments 

Tex Andrews 

Maryland Art Place 

Lynne A. Battaglia, Esq. 

U.S. Attorney 

Herbert Better, Esq. 

American Bar Association 

Honorable Stephen E. Derby 

Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court 

Don Donovan 

Chief Deputy, U.S. Marshals Service 

David E. Johnson 

Chief, U.S. Probation Officer for 
the District of Maryland 

Mary Lucinda Kelly 

Public Arts Consultant 

Honorable Daniel E. Klein, Jr. 

Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court 

John Mitchel 

Professor Emeritus, 
Towson State University 

Honorable Paul V. Niemeyer 

Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit 

James Paulson 

Professor, Towson State University 

Dr. Phoebe Stanton 
Retired Art Professor 

Matthew S. Zimmerman, Esq. 

Bar Association of Baltimore City 

3:00 Charrette Convenes 

Discussion of the Presentations, 
Issues, Agenda and Format 

6:30 Adjourn 



24 



Tuesday, 27 June 1995 

8:45 Assemble 

9:00 Presentations and Comments 

Paul W. Grimm, Esq. 

Maryland State Bar Association 

Andrew D. Levy, Esq. 

Attorney 

9:15 Reconvene Charrette 

12:00 Lunch 

1:00 Charrette Continues 

2:30 Wrap- Up and Preparation 
for Presentation 

3:30 Final Presentation and 

Summary of Design Guidelines 

Special Guests, as listed. 
5:00 Adjourn 



Special Guests 

Paul W. Brier 

Assistant Circuit Executive for Space 
and Facilities, U.S. Court of Appeals, 
4th Circuit 

Honorable Marvin J. Garbis 

Judge, U.S. District Court, 
District of Maryland 

Honorable John R. Hargrove 

Senior Judge, U.S. District Court, 
District of Maryland 

Rob Hewell 

Director, Portfolio 
Management Division, 
Mid-Atlantic Regional Office, GSA 

Honorable Benson Everett Legg 
Judge, U.S. District Court, 
District of Maryland 

Honorable George K. McKinney 

U.S. Marshal, District of Maryland 

Honorable J. Frederick Motz 

Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, 
District of Maryland 

Honorable Paul V. Niemeyer 

Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, 
4th Circuit 

Honorable Frederic N. Smalkin 
Judge, U.S. District Court, District 
of Maryland 

Honorable Joseph H. Young 

Senior Judge, U.S. District Court, 
District of Maryland 

Jan Ziegler 

Assistant Regional Administrator, 
Public Buildings Service, 
Mid-Atlantic Regional Office, GSA 



25 



The Charrette Design Team 



Susan Child, Charrette Chair 
(Boston, MA) 

Susan Child is president of Child Associates, Inc., 
Landscape Architecture, an innovative, award- 
winning design firm in Boston, Massachusetts, 
which has designed a number of significant 
projects, including two waterfront parks in 
New York's Battery Park City — South Cove Park 
(1989), in collaboration with artist Mary Miss 
and architect Stan Eckstut, and North Cove 
Link Park (1995) in collaboration with Mitchell 
Giurgola Architects and sculptor Martin Puryear. 
These and other projects have been honored by 
the American Society of Landscape Architects, 
American Institute of Architects, Waterfront 
Center and the Parks Council in New York City. 
The firm's work in historic preservation includes 
the Master Plan for Stan Hywet Hall Foundation 
in Akron, Ohio, and the Historic Cultural Land- 
scape Report and Site Design for Dorchester 
Heights and Thomas Park in South Boston, 
Massachusetts, commissioned by the National 
Park Service. Ms. Child presently serves on the 
Boston Civic Design Commission. She has par- 
ticipated in two national and three regional facul- 
ties for the Mayors' Institute on City Design 
sponsored by the National Endowment for the 
Arts. She has served on numerous design juries 
and symposiums, has served as a guest teacher and 
critic at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, 
and has lectured widely on various topics in land- 
scape architecture. Ms. Child received her Master 
of Landscape Architecture degree from the 
Harvard Graduate School of Design. 



Carlos Jimenez 
(Houston, TX) 

Carlos Jimenez is principal of Carlos Jimenez 
Architecture Studio. He has served as a visiting 
professor at a number of institutions including 
Rice University, Texas A&M University, Southern 
California Institute of Architecture, University of 
California at Los Angeles, University of Texas at 
Arlington, University of Houston, Williams 
College and Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, 
Spain. Mr. Jimenez has lectured on his work at 
universities and other cultural institutions 
throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, 
Costa Rica, Colombia, Italy, Spain and Switzer- 
land. He has received awards for excellence in de- 
sign from Architectural Record, as well as several 
commendations such as "Young Architects" 1987 
from Progressive Architecture, "Young Architects" 
1988 and "Emerging Voices" 1994 from the Ar- 
chitectural League of New York, and "Forty under 
Forty" 1995. His work has been exhibited at gal- 
leries in Houston, New York, Los Angeles, Santa 
Monica, Austin, San Antonio, Helsinki, Moscow, 
Montreal and Mexico City. Mr. Jimenez graduated 
from the University of Houston School of 
Architecture in 1981, receiving awards for best 
thesis project and best portfolio. 

Grover E. Mouton III 
(New Orleans, LA) 

Grover Mouton, an architect and urban design 
artist, is director of the Center for Regional 
Design and an associate professor in Architecture 
atTulane University. He is coordinating the 
French/American Mayors' Institute on ( 'ity 
Design, a four year program involving forty 
American and French mayors. He previously 
directed the Mayors' Institute/South for the 
National Endowment for the Arts. Mr. Mouton 



26 



is directing urban design projects for the mayors 
of numerous cities including Knoxville, Charleston, 
Augusta and New Orleans. His Civil Rights Dis- 
trict Master Plan, created for the city of Birming- 
ham, received a National Trust Honor Award. 
He also has been the recipient of a National 
Endowment for the Arts grant, the Rome Prize in 
Architecture, and an American Academy in Rome 
fellowship. Mr. Mouton's art has been exhibited at 
the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in 
Washington, DC, the New Orleans Museum of 
Art, the University of Houston, S.E.C.C.A. in 
Winston-Salem and the Marlborough Gallery in 
New York City. He advises and participates on a 
variety of boards, including the New Orleans Bo- 
tanical Garden, the Skowhegan School of Painting 
and Sculpture in Maine and the National Trust 
property Shadows-on-the-Teche. Mr. Mouton 
received a bachelor's degree in Architecture from 
Tulane University and a master's degree from the 
Harvard Graduate School of Design. 



William H. Paxson, AIA 

(New York, NY) 

William Paxson is an associate partner with Davis, 
Brody & Associates, an architectural firm with 
projects ranging from complex downtown master 
plans to sophisticated libraries and data centers. 
The firm recently completed a master plan for the 
redesign of the World Trade Center's plaza and 
retail concourse. Other recent projects include the 
new operations headquarters for the U.S. Bureau of 
the Census and the Eskind Biomedical Library at 
Vanderbilt University. Mr. Paxson has served as 
senior designer on large-scale projects for Mount 
Sinai Medical Center, the City University of New 
York and Harvard Medical School, as well as a 
recent planning study for the Central Terminal 
Area at Heathrow International Airport. Mr. 
Paxson received a Bachelor of Science degree in 
mathematics from Brown University and a master's 
degree in Architecture from Yale University. 




Clockwise, From Top Left: 

Susan Child, Carlos Jimenez, 

Grover E. Mouton III, William H. Paxson 



27 



Participants in the Charrette 



GSA Participants 



U.S. Courts Participants 



Kelli Castellano 

Realty Specialist 
Baltimore Services Group 
Chesapeake Realty 
Services District 
Mid-Atlantic Regional Office 

Russell W. Fulton, Jr. 

Acting Director 

Business Development Division 

Mid-Atlantic Regional Office 

Susan Harrison 

Chief, Art-in-Architecture 

Program 

Cultural and Environmental 

Affairs Division 

Central Office 

Anja Levitties 

Fine Arts Officer 

Portfolio Management Division 

Mid-Atlantic Regional Office 

Carl Riday 

Architect 

Professional Development and 
Consultation Division 
Mid-Atlantic Regional Office 

Laura Stagner, AIA 

Asset Manager 

Portfolio Management Division 

Mid-Atlantic Regional Office 

Alicia D. Weber 

Fine Arts Program Manager 
Cultural and Environmental 
Affairs Division 
Central Office 



Paul W. Brier 

Assistant Circuit Executive 
for Space and Facilities 
United States Court of Appeals 
4th Circuit 

Joseph A. Haas, Esq. 

Clerk 

United States District Court 

District of Maryland 

Merle Ita Halpern, AIA 

Design Project Manager 
Space and Facilities Division 
Administrative Office of 
the United States Courts 

Honorable 

Benson Everett Legg 

Judge 

United States District Court 

District of Maryland 



NEA Participants 

Thomas Grooms 

Program Manager 
Federal Design 
Improvement Program 

Thomas Walton, Ph.D. 

Rapporteur 
Associate Dean 
School of Architecture 
and Planning 
The Catholic University 
of America 



28